Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Country, Pop
Joe Nichols's acclaimed 2002 debut was refreshingly free of artifice, brimming with honest, straightforward songs that put him in a rare position. Few critics' darlings deliver commercial success, but Nichols confounded th... more »
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Joe Nichols's acclaimed 2002 debut was refreshingly free of artifice, brimming with honest, straightforward songs that put him in a rare position. Few critics' darlings deliver commercial success, but Nichols confounded that equation by delivering hit singles, formidable album sales, and three Grammies. His sophomore effort (again produced by Brent Rowan) mixes jovial, breezy honky-tonk ("Don't Ruin It for the Rest of Us" and "What's A Guy Gotta Do") with smart oldies picks: Gene Watson's 1979 hit "Farewell Party" and the title track, an obscure 1972 Waylon Jennings album cut. Nichols's evocative tableaus continue with a winning rendition of Iris DeMent's poignant "No Time to Cry." Poignancy, however, must be handled with care. It packs an emotional wallop when used sparingly, as it does on "If Nobody Believed in You." But too many similar tunes--"Things Like That (These Days)," for example--erode the impact. Nichols earned the right to strike out in more ambitious directions, and while nothing here is below par, he needn't have played it quite this safe. --Rich Kienzle
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Member CD Reviews
Julie Y. from STORMVILLE, NY
Reviewed on 7/22/2007...
I love this guy's voice. If you like George Strait, he has the same soothing quality, but with a little deeper tone. I can listen to him for hours. Love this album, no gimmicky "new" country songs, mostly meaningful ballads. Love, love, love his version of Iris DeMent's "No Time to Cry."
Nichols' "Revealation" Good But Can Be Better
T. Yap | Sydney, NSW, Australia | 07/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Prime Cuts: Don't Ruin It for the Rest of Us, Things Like That (These Days), What's A Guy to Do Pride of place needs to be given to Nichols' sophomore album "Revelation." While many of today's country music CDs are imbued with bombastic rockers and syrupy ballads with that occasional fiddling thinly disguised as country, Nichols' palette is country to the core-heavy on the fiddles, acoustic guitars, banjo and all the good rustic stuff. Helmsman Brent Rowan, Nashville ace's session guitarist turned producer, is to be congratulated for keeping the production country yet contemporary, enhancing Nichols' vocals rather than intrude, giving the whole CD a languid, understated Don-Williams laidback feel. Hands down, Georgia Middleman's (who has also just released an excellent new CD "Unchanged") co-write "Don't Ruin It For the Rest of Us," is easily the cream of the crop. Lyrically situated in a barroom, "Don't Ruin" tells the wry tale of a guy gloating about his new love in the faces of his heartbroken barstool friends. Humorous, poignant and noteworthy; Further, Nichols' has a way with story songs that draws the listener in a compelling way. "Things Like That (These Days)"also finds Nichols putting his best foot forward. A celebratory tale of the importance of a strong moral pedigree, co-writers Mike Dekle and Bryon Hills certainly pull on the heartstrings as Nichols prayerfully sings, "have mercy on all of the kids out there who haven't been raised to even care about things like that these days." Equally thought provoking is the Harley Allen-penned vanguard single "If Nobody Believed in You." Backed by some wailing steel and persistent fiddling, "If Nobody Believed in You" pays homage to the power of endearing love cumulating to a hortatory final verse referencing God's care during tough times. Though "Revelations" is heavily hued with ballads, showcasing a sensitive, introspective, deep thinking Nichols, "What's a Guy to Do" finds Nichols letting loose, doe ce doeing to this Cajun influenced scorcher. Not since Mary Chapin Carpenter's scintillating "Down at the Twist and Shout," has a song's been packed with so much exhilaration and energy. Somehow one wishes Nichols would cut more upbeat numbers like that. It's not that the ballads are not welcomed, but some of them are just mediocre. Case in point is Nichols' cover of Iris DeMent's plangent "No Time to Cry." Whilst DeMent exudes an inert pain in her Emmylou Harris-like weather tainted vocals in the original version, Nichols on the other hand sounds too polish and hence sounding emotionally deficient. Sounding too much like the veteran, Nichols must have learnt "Farewell Party" by listening to Gene Watson's hit version a tad too much. Similarly, Nichols brings nothing particularly stimulating to Waylon Jennings' loquacious 1972 cut "Revelation." Overall, "Revelation" is a sturdy effort with lots of reflective moments, philosophical musings and gentle moral pronouncements. Though such seriousness is appreciated, but overindulgence can lead to a yawn fest at times. A little variation in the tempo and less covers may do the trick."
No sophomore slump
ecoreyparkman | the south | 06/30/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Outside a couple of slices of cheese, albeit well written cheese (the lead single, and "Singer in a Band"), this is a stellar piece of stone country with a commercial flair. I hear echoes of George Jones and Merle Haggard in this guy's voice and I get chills when I catch those subtle vocal references. If he'd come out in the late 80's when Randy Travis was leading the charge of traditional country's return to radio, Joe would be a massive star. In this day and age, it's hard to know... he may always be a second level star because of commercial country's glass ceiling for neo-traditionalists. However, he's not a second level talent. Witness "I Wish That Wasn't All", hands down the best radio-friendly country song in years. It's a clever heart punch of a song, with a tip of the hat to Keith Whitley. Joe's covers are all exceptional readings.... and surprise, surprise, they're not cheap attempts at radio play - the songs he picked to cover are not glossy, happy numbers. He truly loves the old stuff and it shows. A couple more up-tempo tunes or one less sugary piece, and I'd have given this 5 stars. Great record, though."